Jisoo Ku Jserra Catholic HS 10th Grade
The world was met with shocking news when Volcan de Fuego, an active volcano in Guatemala, erupted. On June 3, the volcano produced its most powerful eruption since 1974, and while the disaster left hundreds dead or injured, the lack of intervention and a proper response from the Guatemalan government has been the subject of deeper controversy. While countless citizens were left to deal with the aftermath of the disaster, the government did little to ensure the safety of their citizens.
After five days of rescue operations, the government of Guatemala discontinued the rescue. Safeguarding the safety of its citizens seems like a fundamental tenet in today’s understanding of a state, but Guatemalan government seemed to renege on this unspoken promise. As much as we can criticize policymakers for their lackluster effort, it must be acknowledged that the country simply doesn’t have the resources or manpower to fuel a prolonged research mission. Unlike America’s response to Hurricane Katrina, there were simply no means help the citizens affected by the disaster. We’ve seen this play out before: more recently, the earthquake in Haiti left countless homeless and only through drastic international assistance did the country find any relief. Many people outside the borders of Guatemala, and sadly many within it too, are blind to the dire needs of the country. I am not here to blame any individual or branch of government, but to simply shed light to the harsh reality that help is needed, even when it’s not asked for.
I recently had the fortunate of visiting the University of North Carolina and speaking to a student who had vested interest in Guatemala. She informed me that while there is a sustaining class of wealthy individuals in the country, they’re usually the first ones to hop on their helicopter and flee. It is not a surprise to hear that the wealthy are disconnected from the needs of the middle, lower class. This is the reality of the present, but the future has the potential for improvement. The tragedy in Guatemala should be seen as an opportunity for reflection and change, and while there is no way to make up for the lives lost, we have an obligation to making sure nothing like this happens again.
<Jisoo Ku Jserra Catholic HS 10th Grade